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5.4 - Superiority Complex

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Aliens Among Us - Part 1
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8.4
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Reviewed By: thisoldcanReview Date: 8/12/17 6:19 pm
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In the final story of the first Aliens Among Us box set, Superiority Complex, a new luxury resort has gone up in Cardiff. The only problem? It only serves aliens. But a strange series of murders of the guests have the humans elated, and the hotel staff and Torchwood worried. Torchwood must work to get to the bottom of these murders, before it threatens to spread to all of Cardiff. Superiority Complex ends the first of three box sets on a solid note, with an enjoyable story about alien murders and xenophobia. The cast was solid all around in this story, and the writing by AK Benedict ranged from funny to dead serious. The story itself was enjoyable enough, but the story will mostly be remembered for the ending, which set up a lot for Torchwood to tackle in the following box sets.

The Torchwood team is mostly assembled, as Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman), Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles), Mr. Colchester (Paul Clayton), and Orr (Sam Béart) all come together to help solve the mystery of these murders. It's lovely to hear a full team together again, after last year's inconsistent Torchwood: Outbreak. What I liked most about this release as a whole was the team dynamics; Jack is still the leader, and Gwen is still the deputy, but the introduction of the sardonic Mr. Colchester and the smart as a whip Orr is a welcome introduction to the Torchwood team at large. It helps add a new dimension to the team and, when joined by pseudo-team member Tyler Steele (Jonny Green), the cast of these stories gels together really well.
CAUTION: Very large spoilers ahead. Spoilers.

Writer AK Benedict, an established science fiction writer, wrote the final story of this set, and delivered an enjoyable finale to the first set. The story of a killer hotel is a pretty interesting one, recalling shades of The Shining and the like, so it's nice to see it realized well by Benedict. The best part of the story was certainly the humor of Benedict. She gave multiple characters lots of dirty and hilarious things ("Everything's better with Harkness in you" and "I've got a lift for an organ now" being two of the best). But Benedict also does a solid job at writing some of the more dramatic scenes. The cold open is sufficiently horrific, while scenes like Orr talking with the hotel also come across as powerful little moments. For a solid writer like AK Benedict, this was a rock solid script. It wasn't the most inspired story ever, but it was certainly a solid one all the same.

The last two things I'd like to mention here are the music and cover art. I mention them together, because like nearly every single previous Torchwood release, each story features a very similar cover art style and soundtrack to one another. The familiar stings are still there, and the incidental music is all the same. I've been irked by the fact that Big Finish often doesn't make much of an effort to change up the music for their Torchwood stories, and I'm starting to get annoyed at the similar cover art styles by Lee Binding, who has done some really great work in the past. I did however like the small musical sting of The Lives of Captain Jack introduction when Jack was trying to save Cardiff in the final story, as I felt it gave it a nice bit of continuity with the show at large.

Overall, Superiority Complex ends the first Aliens Among Us box set on a solid note. The cast of this story did a really great job, meshing well with one another, and sounding great all the time. Special kudos go to the ever brilliant John Barrowman and Eve Myles, as well as newcomer Sam Béart for her turn as Orr. Likewise, AK Benedict delivered a rock solid script; it wasn't the most inspired of her stories, but it ended up being a rock solid story all the same, and that's all you can ask for sometimes.